Photo Credit: Talia Kirshner Photography
Rabbi Dee sitting in front of a banner of his late wife and daughters.

Last April, Rabbi Leo Dee had to do the unimaginable. He buried two daughters, Maia (20) and Rina (15), and then two days later, he buried his 48-year-old wife Lucy. They had been married for almost 26 years. All three had been brutally murdered in a terrorist attack en route from the family home in Efrat, to Tiberias.

And now Rabbi Dee and his three remaining children are doing the unimaginable, by using the trauma to teach, to heal, to grow, and to bring light and hope to the world.


“Lucy means light in Latin,” Dee tells The Jewish Press in an interview conducted a few weeks before the yahrzeits. “Lucy encouraged others to bring out their special light, including me and the kids. In her memory, I am running a project to shine a light on what’s going on in terms of antisemitism. The program encourages students in America and the UK to rally against antisemitism and the Free Palestine Movement which is nothing but a call to murder every Jew on the planet.”

Rabbi Dee is active in a number of projects which give him energy and hope, and he is grateful to his family and friends, and the love and support demonstrated by the Jewish people in the past year.

The Dees spent 2004-2008 in Israel, where Rabbi Dee studied in kollel for semicha. Then they returned to England on shelichut. They returned to Israel in 2014. Rabbi Dee says that knowing what he knows now would not have prevented him from making aliyah. “Lucy and I fell in love with Efrat and life in Israel, It was always our dream to return. Lucy felt it was the only place to bring up Jewish kids in a safe and wholesome environment.”

Of Dee’s remaining three children: Keren (20) is doing sherut le’umi in a home for teenagers at risk. “They have a lot of respect for her and for what she’s gone through,” says Dee. Tali (18) is studying in midrasha in Lod and will be enlisting next year in the IDF. Yehuda (15) is in a boarding school in Efrat. “They have tremendous support from their friends,” says Dee.

In light of recent events, Dee comments, “I think Israel is a light onto the nations. The Israeli soldiers are the bravest Jewish soldiers of any generation. Our army is the envy of everyone in the world. The love for our country shown by Israelis across the spectrum has revealed unity we haven’t seen for many generations. As Jews we should be extremely proud.

“October 7 changed the world; it separated two worlds. Before we were in a world of exile. We’re now in a world where Jews have to take a more active role in building redemption. We have now been thrust onto the front pages of every newspaper. In this new world it is less relevant to live outside of Israel and more relevant to be a part of the evolving story of living in our own country.”

Though there is of course a lingering sadness in his speech, Rabbi Dee speaks with no bitterness, no anger, no regret. He speaks about how the memory of his wife and two young daughters is lighting the way for his current work. “Maia means the water of Hashem which refers to Torah. And I continue to learn and teach Torah and speak around the world. My daughter Rina’s name means the joy that comes from hope. I’m working on projects trying to bring shalom to our region.”

Before her funeral, Lucy Dee’s organs were transplanted, saving the lives of five people, one of whom was an Arab patient.

How does someone who has lost his beloved wife and two daughters to an Arab terrorist consider the possibility of peace between Arabs and Jews?

“In the 1940s, we would have wondered whether it was possible for there to be peace between Germans and Jews. But now there is. In the same way there can be peace between Arabs and Jews the question is: What is it going to look like. It’s going to happen. The questions are how and when?”

Rabbi Dee led the eulogy for his wife with Ani Ma’amin. Dee’s unwavering faith is evident in every moment he has lived since the tragedy – a faith that is certainly bringing Mashiach closer.

May redemption come soon for all of us.

May this article be an illui neshama for:

Leah bas Raphael HaKohen and Tzipora, Hy”d.

Maia Esther bas HaRav Aryeh Mordechai and Leah, Hy”d.

Rena Miriam bas HaRav Aryeh Mordechai and Leah, Hy”d.


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